Introducing Chicken to Babies

A baby eating chicken

Chicken is a good source of protein which is the primary building block in the body. The low-fat content of chicken also makes it a healthy meat choice to add to your diet. However, before you add chicken to your little one’s plate you will need to understand if he’s ready for it and if his body can digest it.


When Can Your Baby Eat Chicken?

Your baby can start eating chicken after he turns six months old and starts on solid foods. Introducing chicken to your baby should be a gradual process. You can puree the chicken and give him not more than two tablespoons each day.


Nutritional Facts of Chicken

Chicken is, no doubt, packed with nutrients that can benefit your baby. Here is a table with the nutritional information of chicken.

Nutritional component Nutrient value per 100 gram
Protein 18.6 g
Fat 15.06 g
Energy 215 Kcal
Vitamin A 400 ug
Vitamin B1 0.06 mg
Vitamin B2 0.12 mg
Vitamin B3 6.08 mg
Vitamin B6 0.35 mg
Vitamin B12 0.31 ug
Folate 6 ug
Vitamin C 1.6 mg
Vitamin D 0.2 ug
Vitamin E 0.3 mg
Vitamin K 1.5 ug
Calcium 15 mg
Iron 0.9 mg
Sodium 70 mg
Phosphorous 147 mg
Potassium 189 mg
Magnesium 20 mg
Zinc 1.31 mg

Amazing Health Benefits of Chicken for Babies

A baby eating chicken

The bountiful nutrition present in chicken offers the following health benefits to your baby.

1. Muscle Growth

Chicken is a rich source of protein which is essential in to promote the growth of muscles in your baby’s body. It is also found that proteins from animal sources are easily digested by the body when compared to plant proteins.

2. Enhances the Circulatory System

The iron content in chicken aids the production of red blood cells in the body. Chicken also has potassium which can keep the blood vessels in the body healthy.

3. Promotes Bone Health

Chicken contains phosphorous and calcium in good amounts. These minerals are known for the formation of strong bones.

4. Facilitates Brain Development

The Vitamin A, C and B12 (cobalamin) present in chicken can promote proper growth in your little one. Cobalamin is also vital for your baby’s brain development.

5. Boosts Immunity

Chicken has micronutrients like zinc and magnesium which can build immunity in your baby any prevent infections and ailments.

Best Ways to Cook Chicken for your Baby

If you want to start giving your baby chicken, you will need to know the best ways to do that. Here are some recommended ways to introduce chicken to your baby’s diet.

  • Bake the chicken at 190 degree Celsius for 20 minutes. You will need to cut them into small, even piece before you bake it. Once baked, you can puree it for babies or shred it for kids over 12 months of age.
  • Cut the chicken into thin slices and poach it. You will need to add just enough water in a saucepan to submerge the chicken. Boil this for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked. You can strain the water and use it for some other dish or puree the chicken along with the water and give it to your baby.
  • Boil small pieces of chicken in a saucepan with enough water to submerge it completely. You will need to boil it for 30 minutes or more and puree it. This is the best way of cooking chicken as it kills pathogens and softens the chicken meat.

Can Babies be Allergic to Chicken? 

When introducing any new foods to your baby you need to be cautious about the possibility of allergic reactions. Always introduce your baby one food at a time. If he shows any adverse reaction, immediately consult a doctor.

Babies with a sensitive digestive system and immune system have a risk of developing reactions to chicken. Although cooking can reduce the allergens in the baby, you should always look out for signs of an allergy. Symptoms of an allergy can be,

  • Swelling: Swollen face, neck, eyelids, throat, and nose indicate an allergy. Your baby may also find it difficult to open his eyes or breathe.
  • Pain in the abdomen: Abdominal cramping or pain along with diarrhea and vomiting.
  • Rashes or hives on the skin: Itchy red bumps on the body.
  • Fatigue: Weakness and dullness in the baby.

Should you Add Salt to your Baby’s Chicken Soup? 

Do not add any salt when you make chicken soup for infants. It is also best to not salt to any food that you give to your baby when he is still younger than a year. This will allow him to experience and grow the like the natural taste of foods without any add-ons.

Some Safety Tips for Serving Chicken to your Baby

When introducing chicken to your little one, here are a few safety tips that you can follow to avoid any complications that can come along with inadequate handling and storage of the chicken.

  • Buy organic If you’re buying a whole chicken, ensure that it is plump. The chicken should be very bony. If you are purchasing non-organic chicken, beware of chicken that has been injected with hormones to be plumped unnaturally.
  • Buy chicken with opaque skin, not spotted ones.
  • When you’re buying frozen chicken keep an eye out for any frozen liquid in the package. Avoid buying frozen chicken with frozen liquid, as this could mean that the chicken was thawed and frozen again, which essentially makes it unsafe to eat.
  • Do not keep the fresh chicken in the refrigerator for more than two days.
  • Thaw frozen chicken in the refrigerator. Unless you want to cook the chicken right away, do not thaw it in the microwave. This is because the chicken may begin cooking on the inside and if left aside for later, may cultivate bacteria.
  • Keep chicken away from other food items when preparing it to avoid any cross-contamination. Ensure that you wash your hands, the cutting board, and the utensils after cutting the chicken.
  • You can check if the chicken is done by inserting a skewer into the thickest part of it. If you see clear juice running, instead of pink juice, the chicken is done. You may also want to take the extra precaution of using a meat thermometer. The internal temperature of a whole chicken should be 82.2 degree Celsius. Chicken with bone should have an internal temperature of 76.6 degree Celsius. Boneless chicken should have an internal temperature of 71.1 degree Celsius.

Healthy Chicken Recipes for Babies

Here are some delicious baby chicken recipes that you can try for your baby.

1. Chicken Puree

This basic chicken puree recipe for baby is the best way to introduce chicken to your little one.

What you require

  • 2 cups of boneless chicken, chopped
  • Water

How to prepare

  • Boil or pressure cook the chicken until it is tender.
  • Cool the chicken and puree it in a blender.
  • If you’ve roasted or poached the chicken, you may have to cut the chicken into smaller pieces to make it easier for blending.

2. Chicken and Sweet Potato Puree

Rich in vitamins and minerals, both sweet potatoes and chicken can be a great addition to your baby’s diet.

What you require

  • 2 cups of chopped sweet potatoes
  • 2 cups of boneless chicken, chopped
  • Water

How to prepare

  • Cook the chicken and sweet potatoes separately until they are tender.
  • Transfer them to a blender and puree them.

3. Chicken Stew

If you want to wait a little longer to introduce proper solids to your baby but would like him to get the nutrients of chicken, a chicken stew is a great option

What you require: 

  • 1 cup chicken with bone
  • Water

How to prepare: 

  • Boil or pressure cook the chicken for 30 minutes to allow the nutrients of the chicken to seep into the water.
  • Let the stew cool and strain it before serving it to your baby.

4. Apples and Chicken Puree 

This recipe is simple, nutritious, and delicious.

What you require: 

  • ¼ cup chicken, boneless
  • ¼ cup apples without seeds or homemade applesauce

How to prepare: 

  • Cook the chicken and the apple separately until they are tender.
  • In a blender, puree both the ingredients to achieve the required consistency.

5. Chicken, Rice and Peach Dinner 

This is another chicken with fruit combination which works surprisingly well.

What you require: 

  • ½ cup chicken, boneless
  • 2 cups of cooked rice (white or brown)
  • 1 ripe peach
  • 1 tablespoon breast milk or formula

How to prepare: 

  • Cook the chicken and rice separately.
  • Peel the peach and remove the pit.
  • Puree the peach, milk, rice, and chicken in the blender to the required

Ensure that you add chicken to your little one’s diet with proper caution. Always discuss with your baby’s doctor about the right time, quantity, and the best way to introduce it to your child.